The following is an actual excerpt of a speech given to the fictitious subcommittee the "Counsel Of Concerned & Knowledgeable Greek Organizations Bent on Benumbing a Lengthy Exclusionary Recruitment," Jan. 24, 2002.
"Ladies and gentlemen of the subcommittee COCKGOBBLER, with another semester beginning, and another fraternity and sorority rush now ending, we look with great fondness at the bright potential with which our system has been revitalized. With this new life blood coursing through our social system and everyone's excitement painstakingly plastered to their smiling little faces, I wish to talk to you about the concept of failure.
"Failure is not waking up on your 33rd birthday to find out you're a meter maid for the city of Ithaca, dispensing parking tickets to give your life some semblance of superiority over others. Failure is realizing too late that you could have avoided your situation by having realized your vocation as "Pompo the Happy Happy Tortoise," star of a children's TV show. As a card-carrying member of the Greek system, I don't think we realize what's going on, and I believe that the Greek system is currently failing. We can be so much more than we are, so long as we stop allowing ourselves to be victimized by people outside the system.
"Two houses got kicked off campus this year: Sigma Upsilon Chi and Alpha Sigma Sigma were effectively removed from the official rush process. One of these two houses used underground rush tactics and still managed to entice 18 freshmen to ask for admittance. Unfortunately, Alpha Sig-Sig's own national representatives, along with the Cornell administration and alumni board, decided that it was time to tear that house asunder.
"Two down, 40 to go, and you can bet that the cronies in the Straight plan to dismantle at least two other houses this semester. Will they go down because of alcohol? Hazing? Illegal parking? Failing to proofread?
"It should be noted that the University doesn't support hazing in any fraternity or sorority. But what constitutes hazing is completely up to them. During the indoor ego BBQ called "sorority rush," hundreds of girls have to march single file through the snow in a multitude of weather un-friendly outfits, all so they can repeat a thousand times over what their majors are. Thankfully, every pamphlet in the Office of Fraternity & Sorority Affairs (OFSA) proclaims that no girl has to do anything she doesn't want to do.
"The University does promote legislating and regulating the system, though. For years, officials from OFSA have continually striven to reduce the new member education period and add more and more community-minded, but mandatory, events to each house's roster of activities. While no house wants to publicly stand against doing more community service, what happens when they fail to take part in the philanthropic gathering they said they would? I believe that Suzy Nelson is pushing our system towards being a more service-oriented, less socially-driven system, and the only people who can stop this are the members of the houses who haven't been kicked off campus yet.
"In the rural hills of Ithaca, joining the Greek system is one way to meet lots of different people, and until recently it has worked well. During rush week, fraternities are forced to undertake misogynistic measures like having house parties with alcohol and loose women. They must do these things to compete with the dozens of open parties taking place in non-Greek residences all over Collegetown. Those houses threaten to dissuade new members from joining the system, because those houses don't require any service. They simply offer a place to get drunk.
"The University maintains it is pro-Greek, but has already begun planning the West Campus Living Initiative. While members of the Greek System have nothing to worry about right now, I can guarantee that when those dorms are finished, every upperclassmen will receive brochures urging them to consider on-campus housing. I have no doubt they'll bill them as healthier living environments, better equipped than most fraternities and sororities.
"Truth be told, any attempts at dismantling the Greek system are made in order to dissolve the stereotypical frat boy. Thus, it is the job of the Greek system to show the world that we aren't that stereotype. The binge-drinking and all-night hazing events of yesteryear have all but vanished, making way for binge-Yahtzee tournaments and all-night unisex ice-cream socials. Yahtzee never hurt anybody, and personally, my great-grandparents, grandparents and parents all met after attending fraternity-sponsored ice cream socials. From the outside looking in, perhaps fraternities stand for being drunk and stupid, but today's houses stand for being true and friendly. And so, if the system is to survive, we must demand that the University cease and desist and give us some answers.
"For starters, I want to know how the heck doctors can require girls to pee in a cup. I have an aiming device, and I still can't manage to get it all into a bowl, and they expect girls to bullseye a cup? Also, is there a difference between a "pizza bagel" and "bagel parmesan?" Why do gangs get tattoos rather than honorary keychains? Where the hell are the wild things? And, finally, why did my house get the crooked monkey finger in the doo-doo hole?"
-- End of excerpt --
At that point, the speechmaker became highly agitated and while screaming a chain of profanity, attempted to pick up the podium and hurl it at the bewildered audience. Fortunately for the audience, the podium was bolted to the floor, and they watched, unharmed for another three minutes while the speaker tried to pick up a number of other pieces of furniture, all of which were also securely fastened to the floor. Before giving up completely because of exhaustion, the speaker looked out on the audience and desperately searched for something more to say.
Not that it mattered, no one was listening anyway.